Legendary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith Celebrates release of Rosa Parks: Pure Love an Oratorio of Seven Songs

Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, 2019 at The Kitchen in NYC

“The trumpeter’s meditation on the legacy of civil rights and the heroism of Rosa Parks is formally inventive and emotionally gripping…. Vividly conveying historical injustice and ongoing struggle through wild instrumental swings and empathetic composition, Rosa Parks is music for the ages.” – Ben Cardew, Pitchfork

“Wadada Leo Smith’s intricate and ravishing oratorio, a meditation on civil rights activist Rosa Parks, must rank as one of his greatest achievements as a composer-performer… Make no mistake, this is a major, ambitious statement from a musician who has specialized in major, ambitious works…It’s a paean to both a remarkable individual and to the ideals of freedom and spiritual love.” – Ed Hazell, Point of Departure

Groundbreaking composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith celebrates the release of his acclaimed TUM recording Rosa Parks: Pure Love an Oratorio of Seven Songs in concert at The Kitchen, 512 West 19th St., New York City, Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, 2019. Shows are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.  Tickets are $35, $25 for Kitchen members and are available online here.

The oratorio pays tribute to Rosa Parks, “a person of exceptional courage and wisdom, who made the right move of resistance at the right time,” says Smith. “Her action generated a movement worldwide for liberty and justice for human beings.”

For this performance Smith is joined by: Diamond Voices, a trio with Min Xiao-Fen (voice and pipa), Karen Parks (voice), and Carmina Escobar (voice); the RedKoral Quartet with Shalini Vijayan and Mona Tian (violins), Andrew McIntosh (viola), and Ashley Walters(cello); the BlueTrumpet Quartet, featuring four trumpeters: Smith, Ted Daniel, James Zollar and  Taylor Ho Bynum; theJanus Duo with Pheeroan akLaff(drums) andHardedge (electronics); as well as butoh dancer Oguri and video in live performance byJesse Gilbert.

Rosa Parks: Pure Love employs the song form as composition to convey a philosophical and spiritual narrative about my vision of Rosa Parks,” Smith notes. “The oratorio is concerned with ideas and my meditation on the Civil Rights movement, and through lighting, photographs and video images, reconnecting history in the present.”

Embedded in the oratorio are brief excerpts from early recordings by Smith, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins and Steve McCall, the four musicians who made up the legendary ensemble known as theCreative Construction Company some fifty years ago. Braxton, Jenkins and McCall are among the dedicates of this recording. “Our shared journey as creative artists was beneficial to each of us, and had a powerful impact on our friendship and artistic thinking. That ensemble impacted the world with its profound musical application and artistic integrity,” says Smith.

The first performance of Rosa Parks: Pure Love (in an earlier version) took place at the New School in New York City as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music in September 2016. The recorded version of over 70 minutes in duration received its premiere at the REDCAT Theater in Los Angeles during the Angel City Jazz Festival in October 2018.

The recording was released February 11, 2019 via TUM Records and has generated wide critical acclaim.

Download full Press Release here.


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